CAG Meeting Sounds Zoning Changes Alert
The Citizens Association of Georgetown met at Letelier Theater within Georgetown Court on Prospect Street, Nov. 22, for a show-and-tell on the proposed far-reaching changes to D.C. zoning rules. The packed house heard from D.C.’s Office of Planning’s Travis Parker and Nancy MacWood of the Committee of 100 on the Federal City.
“It is an immense undertaking,” said CAG member Richard Hinds. DC zoning code has not been revamped since 1958.
Parker said that the changes aimed to make regulations easier to look up and understand. He noted that the goals of zoning are to create “a successful place to live” and saw Georgetown as such an example. “We want to allow other neighborhoods to emulate Georgetown’s success,” he said.
Parker spoke of “a more flexible system” in the new zoning proposals and said that “two-thirds of Georgetown buildings are non-conforming.” By today’s rules, for example, if a non-conforming building, such as an old corner business, were lost to a fire, it could not be rebuilt as such. He said localized, flexible zoning would keep places like Sara’s Market. “Georgetown is the model for zoning everyone wants to be,” Parker said.
The changes in height and outside space dimensions are numerous. Public review of the zoning draft text continues through summer 2011. For details, visit www.DCzoningupdate.org.
“Ask questions now or plan to be surprised,” urged MacWood about the changes. The Zoning Commission has the sole authority to write regulations,
she noted and asked about saturation limits. “Zoning regulations must be consistent with the comprehensive plan.”
While some of the proposed changes would allow for more added useable space for institutions -- like Georgetown University -- residential homes would be even more effected. Also, the 2010 Georgetown University campus plan remains under the current rules. Some attendees wanted to discuss the campus plan. That did not happen.